In a recent comment, the term Rechtsverordnung was mentioned, and it reminded me of an article by Geoffrey Perrin, then of the Sprachendienst, Bundesministerium der Justiz, in an issue of Lebende Sprachen so long ago that the cover was still blue (LS No. 1/1988, pp. 17-18). It is one of the best things I have ever read on German-English legal translation. There was a later article on the vocabulary of juvenile crime and prosecution that was good too. I found Perrin translated the Nationality Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz) for Inter Nationes, who have published English versions of numerous statutes both on paper (I ordered some free of charge by post once) and online. This translation is also available at the German Law Archive.
The article takes the problems of translating the term Rechtsverordnung into English as examples of the problems of translating legal terminology in general. For a summary, see the continuation. Continue reading